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Have you ever wondered what the Bible says about self control?
The Bible isn’t silent on this matter. Self control is one of the fruit of the spirit. This means that if you’re a Christian, self control will be an attribute present in your life.
Here’s what the Bible says about self control.
What does the Bible say about self control?
So, what does the Bible say about self control? Let’s take a look.
Here are some scriptures about self control:
- Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law,” (NIV).
- Proverbs 25:27-28 – “It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep. Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control,” (NIV).
- 1 Corinthians 7:5 – “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control,” (NIV).
- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people,” (NIV).
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline,” (NIV).
- Romans 12:1 – “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship,” (NIV).
- 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me,” (NIV).
Benefits of Self Control in the Bible
Self control comes with many benefits. Without self control, there isn’t much you can do. Simply defined, self control is the ability to control yourself. Having self control helps you achieve goals and avoid bad circumstances.
Here are some of the benefits of self control:
- Helps you fight against temptation: Without self control, you wouldn’t be able to fight against the temptations of this world. In Matthew, it reads: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,”(Matthew 26:41). The Holy Spirit is what helps us fight against temptation.
- Helps you be diligent in working: Self control helps you be diligent in different practices such as spiritual practices. This includes praying and reading your Bible. Self control also helps with more natural things like controlling how much you eat.
- Helps you with personal goals: Self control helps you with your personal goals. Let’s say you have a goal of memorizing more scripture this year. You will need to practice self control and be disciplined to set aside time to memorize.
Examples of Lack of Self Control in the Bible
When you don’t practice self control, bad things happen. There are plenty of examples of a lack of self control displayed in the Bible.
David and Bathsheba
In 2 Samuel, a story is told of David and Bathsheba. David is known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). However, even this man fell short of the glory of God. In 2 Samuel 11, a story is retold of David and Bathsheba. David lacks self control when he decides to sleep with another man’s wife.
Adam and Eve
In Genesis 2-3, a story is told of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were the first human beings created. They were in perfect harmony and relationship with God. God gave them instructions to not eat the fruit of one of the trees in the garden. However, they could eat off any of the rest of the trees. They were tempted by the devil and fell into temptation. They disobeyed God and ate of the tree they weren’t allowed to eat from. This showed a lack of self control from both Adam and Eve.
Examples of Self Control in the Bible
There are examples of self control in the Bible as well. Let’s take a look at a couple of these examples.
Jesus is the best example of someone who practiced self control perfectly. In Matthew 4, we’re told about Jesus being tempted 3 times in the wilderness while he was fasting. Although tempted, Jesus didn’t cave in to the temptations. Instead, he always answered back with the truth of God’s word. It would’ve been easy for someone to cave into temptation, especially when they were hungry. But Jesus makes the decision to not cave in. Instead, he practiced self control.
Job is another example of someone who practiced self control. He didn’t practice it perfectly, but did pretty well. In the midst of trying times, Job didn’t give up on God. Job lost many things including his children and his cattle. At the end of Job 1, Job says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing,” (Job 1:21-22 NIV).
How to Develop Self Control
You’ve seen examples of people practicing self control and those who lacked self control. Now the question is, how do you develop self control?
The only way to develop self control is if you’re in Christ. Being in Christ means you’re a Christian. You have the Holy Spirit within you to enable you to be self controlled.
If this is true of you, then here’s how to further develop self control.
Being in prayer.
First, be in prayer about it. Maybe you’re struggling in this area. That’s okay. God has grace for you. Pray that God will fill you with the Holy Spirit and that you would walk in step with the Holy Spirit. The only way to be self controlled is with the help of the Spirit. Continue to pray about it and God will answer your prayers.
Storing God’s word in your heart.
Second, store God’s word in your heart. Jesus was able to fend off temptation by quoting scripture. When the devil tempted him with scripture, Jesus answered with scripture as well. The devil knows scripture probably better than we do. We must take action to memorize more scripture so that we can bring it to remembrance during times like these.
Finally, take action. The Bible says to “make no provision for the flesh” (Romans 13:14). You should take measures to make sure you’re not tempted to fall into sin. For example, if there’s a temptation to get drunk and you’ve been a past alcoholic, you should take measures to not be around alcohol at all. Making changes like this will help you be self controlled in not falling into sin.